My experience when I serve this cake is guests ask for the recipe; it is one of those amazing desserts. Almond is the primary flavor with the glaze adding a bright accent of lemon. It is a winning combination in a simple to make gluten free dessert. This recipe is adapted from a recipe in The Food of Spain by Claudia Roden.
If almond meal, also known as almond flour, is not immediately available in your area, then an alternate is to grind 8 ounces (1 ¾ cups) of almonds in a food processor into a fine meal (about the texture of uncooked grits). In my area both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods stock almond meal.
- 8 ounces of almond meal
- 6 large eggs
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 2 lemons
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 4 ounces (1 cup) confectioner’s sugar
- 3 Tablespoons toasted sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9-inch spring form pan with butter; place a round of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan and grease the paper.
Wash the lemons then zest both of the lemons and juice one of the lemons. See zesting Tip 1 below. Separate out 2 Tablespoons of juice for the batter and 4 teaspoons of juice for the glaze, setting the remainder of the juice aside.
Separate the egg yolks and egg whites, placing the yolks in a small bowl and the whites in a large bowl.
Add granulated sugar and lemon zest to a blender or food processor. Process until the zest is fully incorporated with the sugar, pausing to scrape down sides as required. Add egg yolks and process until pale and creamy in appearance. Add the almond extract and 2 tablespoons lemon juice; process briefly with pulses until incorporated.
In a medium bowl or the food processor mix the almond meal and the yolk sugar mixture until fully combined. Then turn the mixture out into a bowl if you are using a food processor.
Beat the egg whites in their large bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold half of the beaten whites into the almond mixture. This will take a little bit of patience as the almond mixture is stiff. Then fold in the remaining whites into the batter.
Pour batter into the spring form pan spreading it out evenly across the pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a small knife around the pan to separate any bit of cake that may have stuck to the sides, then remove the sides. Turn cake out onto a serving plate.
In a small bowl, whisk together confectioner’s sugar and 4 teaspoons of lemon juice until smooth. If the glaze seems too thick to flow across the top of the cake then add more juice, ½ teaspoon at a time.
Pour the glaze over the top of the cake and use a flat spatula or the back of a large spoon to spread the glaze to the edges of the cake and let the glaze drip over. As the cake cools the center of the cake sinks slightly so the glaze requires help dripping over its sides. Finally, sprinkle the top with the toasted sliced almonds.
Let cool completely and serve. Best served the day it is baked, but it is still pretty wonderful the next day.
Tip 1: Zest the lemons using a vegetable peeler removing the yellow skin while leaving the white pith. Chop the peal into ¼” wide strips, then process with the sugar in the blender or food processor. I find that this is the simplest way to zest several fruit when baking.